Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Exploring With Rod and Reel

I have been spending more time fishing recently as earlier this summer I was trying to get my free flight model airplanes adjusted for the Nats Free Flight contest the last week of July in Muncie Indiana. My motives for fishing recently have been more to try to understand the current fishing environment and how I could improve my chances of catching fish. Besides the fishing around the Winona area I have also fished some in Rochester while visiting my mother. 

No Luck Fishing Zumbro River by Apache Mall

Small Dam on Zumbro

Just out of curiosity I have tried fishing with worms in a couple of the warm water streams in Rochester, Bear Creek and the Zumbro River behind Apache Mall Shopping Center.  As a kid growing up in Rochester I remember catching small rough fish such as chubs, shiners, and suckers about as fast as I could bait the hook. After several attempts of fishing those streams in Rochester I have not caught a fish. I did have a small fish on in the Zumbro below Mayowood dam. It really makes me wonder what is different, is it the water quality or predators?  Completely out of curiosity I fished the small pond that is for drainage by Apache Mall and caught tiny bluegills right away.  I have heard about how bullheads have disappeared which is a fish that can live in almost any water. This article maintains there decreased numbers are related to cleaner water - “  Bullheads Drop Off - Cleaner water has led to the decline of the celebrated fish in southern Minnesota”, could other rough fish have disappeared because the water is too clean?

Sunfish Quarry Hill Nature Center Pond

New Dock at Quarry Hill

Turtle Came After the Worm

Recently I tried fishing in the man made pond at the Quarry Hill Nature Center using worms for bait. The pond is somewhat weedy but the tiny sunfish take the worms about as fast as you can bait your hook. I also had a turtle come after the worm but made sure the turtle was not hooked. My understanding is there is also largemouth bass and northern pike in the pond.

Crappie From Cascade Lake
One of Cascade Lakes

The other area I have fished is the Cascade Lakes. These gravel pits are fairly large and have some artificial habit created. So far I have caught small largemouth bass, sunfish and a crappie. I did witness someone catch a good size bass, another time someone caught a large carp.

Northern Pike caught in Mississippi River

Walleye caught from shore of Mississippi

I have also tried fishing from the banks of the Mississippi River in Winona where I live using artificial lures.  Sometimes I had good luck but more often I caught nothing. The one spot while casting off a dock I caught a small northern pike and a walleye within about 20 minutes, two other times I caught nothing.  

Like most things in life fishing changes, sometimes for the better and other times for the worse. It is fun exploring with rod and reel trying to discover the patterns of what is under the surface of the water.

Bill Kuhl

Related Links


Eric Atherton: Bass might be top attraction at Cascade Lake


Friday, September 8, 2017

Cause & Effect - Educating Myself on Fishing

Cause and effect is the principle of causality, establishing one event or action as the direct result of another.” Wikipedia 

Lately I have been thinking a lot about “cause and effect” in regards to my hobbies.

Small Trout Stream

This past fishing season I have decided to take my fishing a little more serious and see it as an opportunity to learn. The majority of the fishing I have done has been fishing for trout in the small streams within 20 miles of where I live. I have also fished from a small lake, Lake Winona just several blocks from where I live. In trout fishing I have been pretty successful using the same Rapala lure for several years and fished it also in Lake Winona and did fairly well but never great, for sure it does not work well when the weeds are thick.

Lake Winona

What I had learned to catch trout in a small stream is you had to keep walking and only fish a short time in each likely spot, doing this I did pretty well. Looking back maybe 15 years ago it seemed like every small stream had trout you could catch, even within the city boundaries. In later years when I tried fishing those streams I have had no luck at all. The past couple of years even where I had good luck before I was not catching anything but yet I heard of other people catching many trout. I starting trying new spots and found I was catching fish again. Streams are constantly changing, especially after heavy rains or floods. Improvements have been made by different organizations to some streams and it is helping. 

Brown Trout from Small Stream

This spring I had exceptionally good luck fishing for largemouth bass in Lake Winona just after the season had opened. I realize now it was because the fish were still spawning and the large fish were really active for a few days. There were a couple of evenings I was catching huge fish on almost every cast but within a week it was tough to catch a single small fish. Then I would fish for a couple of hours in the evening and catch absolutely nothing. Since then I have done some reading and learned much from Doug at Hogline Bait & Tackle.  I try to buy locally from small merchants and find the advice they give me is well worth any additional cost from large retailers or online.

Largemouth Bass Caught Early Season

 Recently I came across an article online from a Sport Illustrated article about largemouth bass from an expert on the ecology of the fish, Dr. George W. Bennett. A few items peaked my interest and really pointed out my blaming the body of water for poor fishing really was incorrect. Like so many things that might seem like mainly luck, those people that excel at mastering the nuances do way better than the majority of the people with way less experience and knowledge.

Great article on Largemouth Bass

It is also interesting how the fish can be interested in a new lure but after seeing so many other fish caught with the lure they will be way less likely to be caught on that lure. I thought it was just seeing other fish get caught in an area that scared others away, I have seen that happen and made a video about it.

https://www.facebook.com/Hogline-Bait-Tackle-310712119329619/  Hogline Bait and Tackle

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

For the Benefit of Mr. Kite

For the Benefit of Mr. Kite, remember that song from the Beatles St. Peppers album? For the benefit of the Mr. Kite I know I want to give a little plug for the parachutes he makes for RC sailplanes.   http://4mrkite.com/Chutes.html  Super Chutes by Mr. Kite is his website

Mr Kite

 For the Benefit of Mr. Kite song https://youtu.be/8LCclVtFR6o

Tow Ring Wedged, Sailplane would not come off line

Mr. Kite Super Chutes

The High Drag Parachute 

A few weeks ago I had posted on Facebook a picture of a split tow ring that had somehow wedged on the towhook of my Allegro Lite RC sailplane on a hi-start launch. My friend Craig Christenson better known as Mr. Kite sent me a surprise package of a better split ring and two of the parachutes he makes and sells. I was not real happy with the parachute I had because it created too much drag and I was not getting the launch height I should much of the time. 

Super Chute Ready for Launch

Switching out the parachute that came with my otherwise good hi-start with one of the Mr. Kite chutes made my launches higher without stretching as much on a day with little wind. The other parachute was larger, had parachute lines made from strap material and had no hole in the top.  It was no wonder it pulled so hard through the air. 

Craig is really an interesting guy that not only flies RC sailplanes and kites but also is a DJ for events and does kite demonstrations. He really likes the classic cars and the older Volkswagen cars. I really enjoy checking all the classic car images he shares on Facebook, especially the old cars with the huge fins. There was a video done on his activities that was shown on KSMQ Public Television for the program Off 90 be sure to check it out.

Dig Those Fins

Bill Kuhl

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

MMAC Free Flight Contest North Branch

Not much time since the free flight Nats in Muncie and I made my way to the Minnesota free flight contest near North Branch Minnesota. I had been there before this year which started out with rain, this contest ended with rain. It was dark and the grass very damp but the wind was light and the temperature cool. More important I had fun and did not lose any airplanes.

Dave Edmonson Launching

To start out with to get quick flights in to check the wind drift I flew my e36 Super Pearl, just like at the Nats it flew really well, I also flew my e20 Sky Demon which quit working after a couple of flights because of the wet grass and the electronics.  

Jetstream  Before Wing Recover

Jetstream in Flight

Tom's Glider

Dave Edmonson was flying his towline when I arrived and had his launcher set up, so I tried my Jetstream towline. The turn seemed to have changed since the Nats and I had trouble getting launched from the launcher in the low wind. Another MMAC member Tom helped me launch and I decided to make some official flights. I had most of the line out but there was a snarl in the reel near the end so did not have it all. The glider towed good but I had to run really fast to keep it going up, it came off the line nice and made some big circles around the field. It did not encounter any lift and was down all three flights in around 43 seconds. I was happy that it launched and did not spiral into the ground.

Wilbur on 200 Turns
Winder Binds at Times

Next I took out my Wilbur rubber model, the one that spent time in the corn at Muncie. Saturday I made some really short test flights from a small field with 100 turns and it required more right turn which I added through rudder. For the first flight on Sunday I used 200 turns, it circled up steep but not stalling and glided with just a hint of a stall. Thought that looked good so tried to make a contest flight with 400 turns. As I launched it went straight up, hung on the prop, slid backwards and tried to recover just as it landed.  I added tip weight for more turn and tried again with the remaining turns and same result. Had trouble with my Stanley winder binding up again too so I put the model away.
I worked on getting a catapult glider in trim to enter a little later. 

Basic Yeller Landing by the Car

Then I decided I wanted to fly my Basic Yeller PeeWee 30 model again because running a glow engine is allowed here. It started pretty easily and I got the fuse lit with my new plasma lighter easily.  It climbed really high, people were impressed. The glide was slow but still has a hint of a stall. On the last flight it landed next to my car, a good thing as it was starting to rain.

It would be good to go to a contest with aircraft that were completely trimmed out, but reality is that closer to me there are no large fields to fly from.  I would like to have more time to talk to people and watch their flying too, I will try harder in the future.

Bill Kuhl

Related Blog Posts


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dynomite, Jetstream, Retro Gnome, and CO2 Nats 2017

I am finishing up with brief descriptions of flying these planes at 2017 Nats.  The start of the hand launch event started with drizzle and rain. This year I had barely flown my Dynomite DLG at all, concentrating mainly on flying e36 planes at home. I did a few test flights before the event but that was about it, there was a small repair to do before contest flights. I wanted to fly even in drizzle in case it was an all-day rain, which it wasn’t. On the two official launches I released too late and had bad height with the glider down in 20 seconds. I tried another launch and the glider came apart in the air, it was way beyond a field repair. 

Dynomite Blew Up

Paul Bradley and Don DeLoach launched my Jetstream glider for me a few times and after adjusting the turn it appears to tow well and transition into a glide. If the glider went left in the glide it seems to tighten up in the turn. More work is needed but I really need a launching stooge so I can spend more time launching without having to take another flier away from their flying. Classic Towline was held on Friday and I left that day so did not fly it in competition. I really need more time working with the glider before contest flights.

Jetstream After Completition
On a couple of days I flew my hi-start Retro Gnome glider, at least I could fly this without assistance from anyone. The tall grass was a pain with snagging the line but it made for softer crashes.  It appears you really need to launch straight into the wind because if the glider gets a little crosswind the hi-start will pull it into the ground. One flight it flew for a fair amount of time and landed in a crushed rock parking lot. Somehow I spaced out when the contest was held and never entered.

Retro Gnome Hi-start Glider

I brought along the CO2 powered plane I had been flying this year in hopes I could talk to people with some experience in CO2. The problem I am having is filling the tank to get a consistent run; I usually get one flight out of cartridge and waste the rest. Saturday evening I had a couple of fair flights but not anywhere as long as some flights I have had. I talked to Ralph Bradley about CO2 and learned much, such as there are cartridge holders for the longer CO2 cartridges. 

My CO2 Powered Plane
Saturday Evening Flight

On another day at least a couple of people tried to fill the CO2 for me and they did not have good luck either. This plane has a fuse DT so between fiddling with lighting the DT and getting a good fill on the CO2 it was frustrating.  On one flight the motor started backwards and I launched it. For a short time it did fly around wildly backwards, Larry Davidson got a kick out of that. I had brought a limited number of CO2 cartridges so I gave up when all were used up.

Bill Kuhl

Related Links



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Polecat X P30 at 2017 Nats

Most all of the testing of the Polecat X P30 model was done at the 2017 Nats mainly because of not a large enough flying site close to home.  I had flown it several times on smaller sites using only hand winds but as someone pointed out you cannot really see what it will do when a large number of turns are used. In my case the Polecat flew just fine as I increased the turns, this is one plane that pretty much flew with no trim adjustments needed.  If you read my build report, you know I was trying a lot of new things with this model; covering with Mylar, using tiny carbon strips, rolling a balsa fuselage, and trying the pop-off wing DT using an electronic timer.

Polecat X in Flight

Polecat X

Any concern I had about the plane landing too hard because the wing is separated from the fuselage were unfounded. The wing spins so fast on the line it slows the plane way down when coming down. One time I forgot to close one of the swivels and the wing came off the line; that did slight damage to the fuselage tube. Another time I must have had the line under the stab and it damaged the rear of the stab when the wing separated. 

Mistake with Routing Line

At first I was a little frustrated with the wing hold down method as with a slight breeze the wing would come off. I expressed my frustration to Jerry Murphy and he said I needed more tension on the DT line. I told him I was concerned with the tiny DT servo not functioning if too much tension. He gently increased the tension making sure the servo would still operate. Now the wing would stay on in a reasonable wind.

After Typical DT Landing

Selman e20 DT Timer
I never did get up to the 2000 turns possible with the rubber motor made up of 3/32” strands but did get up to 1400. As designed it climbs slowly but the propeller spins a long time. The last flights I made on the Muncie field had the plane drifting a long ways for chasing on foot. I did have my tracker on it after losing the Wilbur for a few days. Luckily I did not need the tracker to find the model but I did find out that it doesn’t go through even small hills. As high as I could hold the antenna I could not get a signal until I got on top of the small hill.

Looking forward to flying the Polecat X more, I did not fly in competition as it was windy the last day and I left for home.  The weight of the electronic DT with battery no doubt is a few grams, maybe not suitable for competition. For me at this point it is more important to be able to bring the plane down at a precise time to keep it on a smaller field.

Bill Kuhl

Related Links

 http://www.pearlfreeflight.com/Buy.html  Pearl Free Flight website to Purchase Polecat X

Monday, August 7, 2017

E20 & E36 at the Free Flight Nats

After coming to the 2016 with my e36 Super Pearl that had some issues resulting in no official flight, this year I came with two e36 models and an e20. Before the competition started I flew the Starduster e36 I had built over the winter but a bad launch damaged the wing. I repaired it but just couldn’t seem to get consistent flights, no doubt there are weak spots causing inconsistent flight patterns. The BMJR e20 Sky Demon flew pretty well when launched correctly.

Super Pearl e36 2017 Nats

Super Pearl e36 Climb

After last years Nats I discovered on the Super Pearl there was a weak spot in a dihedral joint and the stab was not as rigid as it should have been. The problem of diving when gliding to the right went away and I had some good flights.  For this year I covered the pylon with fiberglass cloth, improved the DT system, and replaced the vertical fin with a two-layer fin that was straight. Test flights looked really good; I was ready for the contest.

Flight at Muncie

Tuesday evening was the non-official e20 event.  My plane was the only one that wasn’t a pod and boom design, it has a full fuselage. The first flight I cheated myself in not having the DT set long enough, flying it earlier I had a hard time finding the tiny plane in the tall grass and had set a shorter DT time.  Increasing the DT time my plane did pretty well for what it is but came in 7th out of 11 entries. I was so busy flying I did not take any pictures, earlier I took pictures of Paul Bradley’s E20, Ralph Bradley won the event with a similar plane.

BMJR Sky Demon e20

Paul Bradley e20

Wednesday was the official e36 event, I knew there would be a lot of entries and most would have more powerful motors than the 1806N motor I was using.  Picking the weather conditions for me is rather like my stock market theory, if it looks like conditions are pretty good I fly early because I am afraid it will get windy later. In the market I seem to cash in when ahead but could have done better if stayed in longer but sometimes I have dodged a bullet.

e36 Starduster after Many Repairs

My three flights in e36 looked good, the E36 Pearl climbed in a steep spiral to the right and transitioned beautifully. The glide was really slow. On the last flight it encountered lift and made an easy max, at least it came down by DT after 2 minutes. That was really cool, I felt like now I was on the way to try for greater performance.

Bill Kuhl

Related Links

http://www.pearlfreeflight.com/Buy.html  Pearl Free Flight Super Pearl e36
http://www.texastimers.com/  eMax electronic timer
http://www.bmjrmodels.com/sky-demon  BMJR Sky Demon
http://scienceguyorg.blogspot.com/2016/08/flying-my-e36-at-2016-nats.html  - e36 at 2016 Nats
http://scienceguyorg.blogspot.com/2016/10/making-progress-in-e36.html - my learning process in e36
http://scienceguyorg.blogspot.com/2016/12/sky-demon-e20-build-report.html  - BMR Sky Demon
http://scienceguyorg.blogspot.com/2017/01/starduster-bmjr-e36-build-report.html - e36 Starduster